Islam and the Quran

Was the Devil a former angel?

Question: God Almighty informs us that He ordered angels to prostrate to Adam, and all of them obeyed except Iblees. In another verse; He says, “Iblees was one of the jinn”. My question is that as the command of prostration to Adam was to angels, why did Iblees take the message on himself and object to bow? And why did Allah dismiss him off his presence. This is something like, a teacher ordering to all the tall students to stand up for the blackboard, and later penalizing the short students for not coming to the board! So, please explain; was Iblees, who was labelled as Satan later on, an angel in the beginning?

Allah the Almighty commands that He created all jinns and mankind for nothing else but to serve Him (51:56); and He commands in another verse:

“Never would the Messiah disdain to be a servant of Allah, nor would the angels close [to Him]. And whoever disdains His worship and becomes arrogant – He will gather them to Himself all together. As for those who believed and did righteous deeds, He will give them in full their rewards and grant them extra from His bounty. But as for those who disdained and were arrogant, He will punish them with a painful chastisement; and they will not find for themselves besides Allah any protector or helper.” (An-Nisa/The Women 4:172-173)

Serving Allah is the duty of angels, as well as of human beings. Some of the angels, which Allah calls “close to Him”, serve and obey the best. But surely as we can understand by the rest of the verse, God will punish with a painful chastisement whoever disdains from serving Him by being arrogant. Iblees strayed just like this. Until a certain time, he showed full obedience in servitude to God, as described in 2:30-32, but then, when he was tested by prostrating to Adam. He behaved arrogantly and as a result he became of the ignorers (kafir – who ignore the commands of God).

This verse clearly expresses that all the angels are jinn:

“Once God said to the angels, ‘Prostrate to Adam’, and they prostrated except Iblees. He was also one of the jinn (invisible creatures) but he deviated from the command of his Master. Will you, then, place him and his offspring as your intimate guardians between you and Me, although he is your enemy? What a miserable exchange it is for these wrongdoers!” (Al-Kahf/The Cave 18:50)

In the verse above, God commands “the angels” to prostrate to Adam, and He expects Iblees to obey, too. The expression “…He was also one of the jinn (invisible creatures) but he deviated from the command of his Master” shows that the other jinn obeyed the command. As all the angels are jinn according to the verse above, we conclude that the angels who obeyed the command were also jinns.

The jinns being created out of fire means that angels were also made of this fire. When paid attention, we notice that there is no expression in the Quran about what or which substance the angels were made of. But there are several verses which express that jinns and angels are the same.


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